William C. Anderson: We defend ourselves so we can all breathe in peace

To move from uprising to liberation we each have a role to play. The conflict is at our doors, and we need to put collective needs before individual wants.

Roar Magazine, June 2, 2020

“Negroes must concern themselves with every single means of struggle: legal, illegal, passive, active, violent and non-violent.”

— Lorraine Hansberry

This is not as bad as things can get. They can — and often do — get worse before they get better. Think about all the previous rebellions, uprisings and protests against white supremacy and the oppressiveness of capitalism that brought us to this point. Even the civil rights movement was not a completely legal or nonviolent affair, though its purposefully misrepresented this way. Black men, women and children did fight back and form self-defense patrols everywhere resistance occurred.

Keep in mind, Black people were engaged in an illegal struggle, breaking laws to protest against apartheid Jim Crow policies. People are “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” as Fannie Lou Hamer said back in 1964. If they were already exhausted over half a century ago, imagine if she and others who died struggling alongside her were alive to see what is happening now.

Things should not be like this, but the struggle for the freedom to live without fear will continue as long as oppression is rampant in the United States. What is happening right now is the result of unaddressed issues like white supremacy, state violence and capitalism. If we do not deal with them now they will only arise again. So, our intentions regarding how we choose to fight and rid ourselves of these problems are everything in this moment that was forced upon us. The past can help guide how we approach this unwanted present. Every slave revolt; every Native uprising; every Black riot; every sit-in, walk-out and strike has something to tell us right now.

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